Obama: A Really Lousy Muslim

Our very own Stephen Prothero has been sticking it to Franklin Graham on CNN, where the son of “America’s Pastor” has been on an offensive against Islam and, in the process, stirring up libel against the president.

Far short of getting into the finer points of Qur’anic interpretation, all the Proth really has to do is what he does best, as in his recent books Religious Literacy and God Is Not One—remind us of the barest basics that we so easily forget (or never bothered to learn in the first place). Here he is, in an addendum to his TV appearance:

[T]o truly become a Muslim (which literally means “submitter”), you need to follow through on that intuition by submitting to God. You do this not by testing your DNA but by doing Islamic things, first and foremost by observing the Five Pillars of Islam. I wish I had been able to say that Obama’s father was an atheist who did not raise his son to be a Muslim, so it is incorrect to say–as Graham did, that he “has renounced the prophet Muhammad and he has renounced Islam,”–because you cannot renounce something you never affirmed.

I wish I had been able to say that none of the Muslims I know see Obama as a Muslim. They all know full well that Obama is at least as Christian as Franklin Graham.

I wish I had been able to say that, just as it is baptism that makes you Catholic and conversion that makes you an evangelical Protestant, what makes you a Muslim is saying the Shahadah (or profession of faith), sincerely and (ideally) in the presence of witnesses.

I wish I had been able to say that Islam is a choice rather than an inheritance. It is not a medical condition, passed down through sperm, like original sin in the Christian tradition. It is a spiritual community of individuals choosing, one by one, to submit to what Muslims believe are the revelations delivered by the one God, through an angel, to the world’s final prophet.

Wanted: a Monica Lewinsky-type insider catching Obama’s Shahadah on tape. Applicants with sperm samples need not apply.